Carolyn Chute, a passionate voice of the underclass and author of the best-selling “The Beans of Egypt, Maine” has returned to Egypt with “The School on Heart’s Content Road,” her first novel in 10 years.

“Beans” is about a poverty-stricken but resilent family carving out a life in rural Maine.

At the center of the politically charged “School on Heart’s Content Road” is Mickey Gammon, a disaffected 15-year-old dropout who has been evicted from his home by his overwrought half-brother. With the help of his new friend, Rex York, the captain of the local militia, Mickey is introduced to the secretive world of the Settlement.

Run by a man known to many as “The Prophet,” the Settlement is a rural cooperative in alternative energy, farm produce and locally made goods. Falsely demonized by the media as a compound of sin, the Settlement’s true nature remains foreign to outsiders.

At the Settlement, Mickey’s life collides with that of another deserted child, 6-year-old Jane, a cunning, beautiful girl of mixed race whose mother is serving time in jail on trumped-up drug charges. As they struggle to adjust to their new, complex surrogate family, Mickey and Jane witness the mounting unrest with the Settlement’s ranks, which builds to a shocking and devastating crescendo.

Chute followed “Beans” with acclaimed novels “Letourneau’s Used Auto Parts” and “Merry Men.” She has also become known for her involvement with the 2nd Maine Militia, a grassroots organization devoted to economic populism and making governments and large corporations more responsible to the working class.

“The School on Heart’s Content Road” is a 352-page paperback with a projected Nov. 11 publication date and cost of $24.


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